By Benjamin H. Liles
The Holman Christian Standard puts this verse this way, "I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will remove your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh" (Ezekiel 36:26). Jesus, when talking to Nicodemus about receiving the right to be born again, said, "Truly, truly, I tell you no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again...I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit" (John 3:3, 5). Not too long ago I posted up how I dislike ministers who falsify the gospel record. Paul says this, "I am astonished how quickly you are deserting the One who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— which is not even a gospel."
"Evidently some people are troubling you and trying to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be under a divine curse! As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you embraced, let him be under a divine curse! " (Galatians 1:6-9, Berean Study).
Here's the thing of it all, if we have faith and believe God still does miracles, then we have a new life in Christ! Without understanding that we can't ever hope to have or even experience the grace of God.
In addressing the church in Rome Paul wrote these words: "How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, who bring glad tidings of good things!” But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our report?” So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. But I say, have they not heard? Yes indeed: “Their sound has gone out to all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world.” But I say, did Israel not know? First Moses says: “I will provoke you to jealousy by those who are not a nation, I will move you to anger by a foolish nation.” But Isaiah is very bold and says: “I was found by those who did not seek Me; I was made manifest to those who did not ask for Me.” But to Israel he says: “All day long I have stretched out My hands to a disobedient and contrary people" (Romans 10:14-21, New King James, bold for emphasis).
Again, I still have a huge problem with those who teach miracles and healing do not take place. But I contend this matter. For if I do not address the issue here, once more, what then can we say of faith, the kind that saves and heals?
There are churches that report people come to Christ because of a lack of having God. These people are seeing God make a move, even in these days. I believe they are coming forward due to God's hand. Did Jesus not know the hearts of men? Did He not give grace to the humble and talk to the Pharisee about their unthankfulness and their inhospitality?
In his letter to the church James writes this: "You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you think that the Scripture speaks to no purpose: “He jealously desires the Spirit which He has made to dwell in us”? But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded" (James 4:4-8, New American Standard).
I honestly believe the main and big reason some ministers do not see miracles, healing, or even a move of God is due to two things: 1) They are proud, claiming to know God, but they refuse to work along with the power of God, which they should have; 2) They refuse to submit themselves to God's governing authority, thus allowing God to work in their midst. Yes, we no longer exist in the time of the apostolic age which was from 33 AD to around 150 AD, but friend don't miss this here--God chose men who were addressed by the apostles in their letters who lived their lives according to the grace of God through Jesus.
Men like Timothy--who Paul addressed in a couple of his letters, Tertius--who helped Paul write Romans, as well as Lucius and Jason, too. There are scores of others who Paul addressed in his letters who were used by God to advance the gospel message beyond the apostolic age who did not dare waver in their faith.
Those people who say that miracles and healing do not take place today like that from the apostolic age shortly after Jesus Christ arose from the grave, forget Jesus Himself said these words, "Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me—or at least believe on account of the works themselves. Truly, truly, I tell you, whoever believes in Me will also do the works that I am doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in My name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it" (John 14:11-14, Berean Study, bold for emphasis, italics important).
That's the most important part of this whole discourse on "A Move of the Holy Spirit." If we ask Christ anything in His name--not doubting, not lacking any kind of faith, He will do it. It's amazing that anyone can so casually disregard Jesus Christ and the message of salvation we are to express and deliver to all. If we forget the works of Christ, of those of the apostles due to the Holy Spirit, we are saying, in essence, "The Holy Spirit doesn't have a chance to work here because I just don't believe in what He can do." That's a grave error. To deny the power of the Spirit the right to work and move means you're dismissing the power of God to renew, to restore, and to redeem you from the curse of the law. And if that's the case then God's wrath abides on that man.
So, from what we have seen here and what we can apply in our lives are the following:
- By submitting to God, His power can work within us, changing us, making us new.
- His power, by way of Christ and the Spirit, can do more than its work. It empowers and emboldens us to do the things God calls us to.
- The Holy Spirit was given to men, originally, to give them the means to remember the things Christ did on their behalf. Those men weren't just firsthand witnesses of Jesus Christ and all He did, they walked with Him, they talked with Him, and they did as Christ commanded.
- By accepting the gift of the Spirit, and new life in Christ, He leaves us with One who will remain with us to the end. Just because Christ is seated on the throne doesn't mean we don't still have His Holy Spirit. He's still here and active.
- By His Spirit we also will be able to have and show unconditional love to and for others, being able to empathize and sympathize with them. It will manifest itself by showing better and deeper regard for one another.
I want all of you to have the same Spirit Jesus Christ has given me. He has indeed called those who humble themselves, seek His face, and desire a new and better life without sin. We can have His peace which surpasses all understanding, but it means we study--continuously. In doing so we put off all forms of sin, anything that keeps us from walking fully in the light of the One who sent Jesus to save us from sin and death. So, when I say I believe in Jesus Christ, His atoning work on the cross, and that His Spirit is here and does radical life-changing work, I also believe miracles and healing still happen. It's all a part of having saving faith in Him who dies in our place on Calvary's cross. I pray this helps you out, that it blesses you immeasurably, and that His peace becomes yours. In the name of Jesus. Amen.